With Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad hitting the Xbox Arcade & Playstation Network it marks the first time 2XL games has released a console based title since 2008. So does it live up to the quality we have come to expect with such a great name behind it or are we left at the finish line wishing for more?
Right off the bat I must say that 2XL Games is a long time favorite for myself, their 2008 release of “Baja: Edge of Control” was brilliant and knowing their company history I have always looked to them for great offroad titles, sadly their focus shifted to the iOS and Android platform for the past few years but that all changed with the announcement of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad coming to consoles. Costing a mere 800msp ($10) you are given a fair selection of modes, vehicles & tracks along with Arcade, Career & Xbox Live choices to get your racing started.
Personally I found myself diving into the career headfirst it is a pretty set straightforward career with you starting at level 1 and your first race being in Mythic, Utah in the Sportsmans Buggy class. The career works as a simple progression system, come in first place? You’ll level up and earn “upgrades” to apply to your vehicles while unlocking new events progressing through Sportsman Buggy, ProLite Trucks, Pro Buggy, Rally Cars & finally Trophy Trucks. Each series with increasing length in events and how long each race takes to complete.
As the career went on however I found the AI becoming increasingly easier and easier to beat even though I was racing on the “Semi-Pro (100% XP)” level, finishing 25 seconds ahead of second place was fairly common so I upped it hoping to increase the racing experience but even at the “Pro (150% XP)” level after you hit first place in a circuit race it was pretty evident that you were going to win with no pressure from second place and it wasn’t going to be a challenge. Sadly this was somewhat of a disappointment as the only way to truly challenge yourself is by keeping your trucks completely free of upgrades. They do offer a small selection for tuning it is titled “Setup” and really seemed to have no effect on my racing either with the three options “Average Speed, sticky tires”, “Fast, slippery tires” & “Very fast, soft suspension” while I did notice the differences in the options the lack in AI difficulty pretty much nulled out anything besides how much control you want over your vehicle with these.
The gameplay is pretty set on being arcade racing which is great allowing for massive jumps & drifting through corners but it maintains some sense of reality by not going over the top in how much you can do. The only issue here for myself was the “road hazards” these were directed at the player only and not the AI which ended up with them being repetitive on top of being poorly executed, I don’t think any of them actually affected my racing or the line I was taking. Beyond that it felt amazing flying through the tracks and each location presented its own difficulty with terrain which has always been something I look for in offroad titles I just wish there were more than 7 tracks/locations.
At the time of this review multiplayer was pretty non existent, I tried at various times of day and could never find a match to play against other people. This could have just been my luck or there really is almost nobody playing this title online which is a shame as this title could prove to be a great amount of fun with others.
Graphically the game is solid, nothing major that you should be looking for the textures are pretty average quality compared to retail releases but it doesn’t take away from the racing at all, in fact the only thing I was hoping for was a bit more detail on the vehicles as they stand out more than anything else. I personally did not experience any issue with them in game though and the sounds are amazing albeit very similar to the sounds in Baja: Edge of Control, I can’t confirm that these were recycled from the title but it wouldn’t be a surprise.
As a bonus if you are an achievement hunter the 12 this title offers are fairly simple to obtain and most will be unlocked during the course of your career, the one thing I did notice on the 360 version is that the icon for these is recycled from Baja: Edge of Control and the “Won First Race” achievement in that title. While not a big thing it was a bit shocking to see things from a title four years old being put into a new title.
Overall this title offers a lot for $10 but at the same time very little, there is a great selection of vehicles and each class is fun to drive but with such a small location selection and it being only one track per area it gets a bit repetitive even within the career where this offroad title is dominated by circuit racing in the desert instead of point to point rally. I would recommend at least trying it as the title does offer a varied amount of fun but don’t expect it to be a long lived title in your collection.